Sri Lanka Arsenic in Rice Updates & Discussion

Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid. It can exist in various allotropes, although only the grey form has important use in industry. The main use of metallic arsenic is for strengthening alloys of copper and especially lead. Arsenic is a common n-type dopant in semiconductor electronic devices, and the optoelectronic compound gallium arsenide is the most common semiconductor in use after doped silicon.


Agricultural Uses

The toxicity of arsenic to insects

    • Use as a wood preservative
    • Used in various agricultural insecticides, termination and poisons

Arsenic Toxicity

Arsenic and many of its compounds are especially potent poisons. Arsenic disrupts ATP production through several mechanisms. At the level of the citric acid cycle, arsenic inhibits pyruvate dehydrogenase and by competing with phosphate it uncouples oxidative phosphorylation, thus inhibiting energy-linked reduction of NAD+, mitochondrial respiration, and ATP synthesis. Hydrogen peroxide production is also increased, which might form reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress. These metabolic interferences lead to death from multi-system organ failure  probably from necrotic cell death, not apoptosis. Long term effect may led to carcinogenic  conditions.

Present Status

An increased appreciation of the toxicity of arsenic resulted in a ban for the use of many products like pesticides.In Sri Lanka As added pesticides are banded.But recently researchers found out that the rice which people consume contain considerable amount of Arsenic due to use of pesticides that contains As.Government authorities says that there is no such a thing & rice is safe to consume.This has created  some argument among researchers & government authorities .

Following Links Provides resent updates on current situation.


News paper articles

From Web




One thought on “Sri Lanka Arsenic in Rice Updates & Discussion

  1. Arsenic and its metabolites are excreted via kidney which is the primary site of bio transformation of arsenic. Kidneys of persons exposed to high levels of Arsenic have accumulated high amounts of Arsenic in their kidneys.

    Arsenic is not easily detectable in hard water since Arsenic forms strong bond with Calcium. The use of Arsenic containing insecticides, herbicides and fungicides on the increase in Sri Lanka in recent years. Also the use of pesticides containing high amount of cyanide and mercury are on the increase in Sri Lanka.

    In Padaviya about 5% of the population suffer from Arsenic poisoning and 40% of the death are due to Arsenic poisoning.

    All agro chemicals are poisonous to animals, plants, microbes, insects and humans. Chemical pesticides leads to breeding of more pesticide resistant pests and creates pest epidemics.

    Since tons of pesticides containing Arsenic,Mercury, Cyanide have been used in Sri Lanka for the last 20-25 years, in them may potentially be the cause for rapidly increasing prevalence of heart disease, diabetes and cancer in Sri Lanka, curing for which the Sri Lankan Government spends millions annually.

    Drinking Arsenic contaminated water and rice caused a severe Arsenic poisoning crisis in Bangladesh where more than 70 million people are subjected to chronic arsenic poisoning caused by low quality agro chemicals which have been imported for last 30 years.

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